For those impacted by Arthritis, May is an important month. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States, with over 50 million Americans impacted by the disease. The three most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis.
Facts about Arthritis in the U.S.:
- Working-age men and women (ages 18 to 64) with arthritis are less likely to be employed than those of the same age without arthritis.
- 1/3 of working-age people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work, the type of work they can do or whether they can work part time or full time.
- People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis –two major kinds of arthritis – miss a combined 172 million workdays every year.
- Arthritis and related conditions account for more than $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses.
- There are nearly 1 million hospitalizations each year due to arthritis.
- 57% of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
- 52% of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
- 44% of adults with high blood pressure have arthritis.
- 36% of adults who are obese have arthritis.
- 1/3 of adults with arthritis age 45 and older have either anxiety or depression.
Statistics provided by The Arthritis Foundation
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to mitigate symptoms and lessen joint pain. According to Mayo Clinic, studies indicate that remission of symptoms is more likely when treatment begins early with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
For individuals already living with arthritis, changes in daily lifestyle can also help reduce painful symptoms. Being physically active is important, not only to maintain a healthy range of motion in the joints but also to avoid gaining excess weight. Staying within a healthy weight range will help ensure there is no added stress on the joints. A diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation. Swimming is an excellent exercise because it doesn’t put any pressure on the joints.
If you are living with prolonged joint pain and have not sought treatment, remember that early detection is critical to reducing the risk of long-term negative outcomes.